Sunday, April 10, 2005

Strawberry Tart

This tart can be made with any fruit, actually. Strawberries just happen to be coming into peak right around now.

The basic components are crust, filling & fruit. The filling is custard-style yogurt, in a flavor that will complement your fruit. The fruit is whatever is in season but more on that in a bit. First up, the crust.

2 to 2 1/2 cups cookie crumbs They could be graham cracker, nilla wafer, shortbread, gingersnap or any combination thereof. My personal favorite is half graham and half gingersnap.

3/4 stick butter Yes. Butter. I will laugh at you if you use margarine.

a healthy squeezin' of lemon pick out the seeds.

One egg white feed the yolk to your cat/dog for a shiny coat.

Those things will make your crust. I recommend making this first. I also recommend investing in a medium-sized tart pan with a removable bottom, which will only set you back about 6 bucks (at a kitchenware outlet), but will impress the shit out of your friends. This recipe is made for a medium tart pan.

To actually assemble the crust: Preheat your oven to 350. Put the crumbs in a mixing bowl. Melt the butter in the microwave (in a pyrex cup, or bowl, covered in plastic wrap so you don't have a buttery microwave) or on the stove. Squeeze in the lemon, and once the butter is slightly cool, whisk in the egg white. Pour the whole shebang over your crumbs and mix together with a fork or spoon. You'll have a nice wet gooey sort of mess. About like cookie dough. Spray your tart pan with cooking spray, and put the crust in the pan. Squish it around with your (clean!) fingers until it covers all of the inside of the tart pan without any holes or tears. You're looking for about a quarter inch thickness.

Look at your crust, it's marvellous. It's also sticky. It needs to bake, but before it does, take your handy dandy mixing fork, and poke holes all over the bottom of the crust (not the sides). This will keep your crust from blowing up like a balloon. (Note: don't get too crazy. Think "aerating the lawn" not "taking out my frustrations on my boss".) Put your newly docked crust into the oven, and bake it for 15-20 minutes, or till it's no longer really shiny and feels more like a fresh-baked (and ever-so-tasty) cookie.

While your crust is baking, you can start prepping your fruit. Strawberries are simple. Wash, hull, and slice. But you could do one of those fancy-schmancy fruit tarts with kiwi, grapes, blueberries, mandarin oranges, apricots, peaches, pretty much any fruit you desire. You could even make a neat one with apples and caramel, but that's another recipe for another time. Whatever your fruit choice(s) just wash, slice (if necessary) into uniform pieces, and set aside. Like I said, today I'm using sliced strawberries.

If you're impatient, like I am, once your crust is done, you can pop it into the freezer for a bit (pan and all), to get it to cool off. (take the time to clean the kitchen, check your favorite blogs, call your mom... whatever) probably a good 15-20 minutes in the freezer will make it ready to go.

This step will save you a lot of headaches later
After you pull the tart crust from the freezer before you fill it, go ahead and try popping it out of the pan. Just push up gently on that removable bottom. It should come free. If it doesn't, try to gently coax it. Once it's free, you can set it back inside its pan, secure in the knowledge that, when you go to serve it- this bad boy isn't going to make you look like a twit. Next: filling!

Take 2 regular sized containers of custard-style yogurt Like Yoplait. Vanilla's always nice, but you could use a flavor to go with your fruit if you like. Mix 'em up in a bowl, so they're nice and smooth, and spread over the bottom of your crust. Lick the spoon when you're done.

Now you get to indulge your inner artist. You're going to arrange your nicely sliced strawberries in geometric patterns on top of the yogurt. Go nuts. Be as obsessive compulsive as you like. Create some sort of art-deco thing with fruit. Just be sure to cover the whole surface, because Nobody likes a wimpy fruit tart.

If you like, you can glaze the fruit, that's what makes store-bought tarts so shiny. To do this, grab some apple, peach, or apricot jelly and put it into a small microwave-safe cup. Nuke it for 15 second intervals, stirring after each, till the jelly is melted. Then take a pastry brush and gently brush the melted jelly all over your fruit (carefully!).

That's it! Stash it covered, in the refrigerator if you're not serving it immediately. You're not going to want to make this too far in advance, a day or so at the most, before serving. Your friends and family will be amazed!


Blogger Steph said...

that is SO fancy! perhaps i could use it to coax a boy to my house? perhaps i should try it? LOL. damn, guess i need to find a boy who actually deserves to have my ass slaving away in the kitchen first.


keep em' comin' Sauce!

8:52 PM  

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